One of the most famous role models of today’s youth graced my television screen. But he wasn’t in his typical “business suit”, he was in normal, everyday attire. Being a major role model and an icon to every young boy and teenager who dreams of making it big as a professional athlete, to me, he was perfect for the spot and the right person for the powerful message that was being delivered.
He was born on December 30, 1984 to a 16-year-old single mother. He moved from apartment to apartment in the worst neighborhoods of Akron, Ohio. He was a basketball superstar at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he was a three-time Mr. Basketball honoree of Ohio. He was a McDonald’s All-American and became the overall number one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He was a multi-millionaire by the age of 18 years old and is a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player. He could have easily dropped out of high school and become a statistic like many in his neighborhood.
Yes, you guessed it. The man I am talking about is LeBron James, who is the spokesperson and key leader behind the 26 Seconds Campaign, a nationwide initiative by State Farm Insurance to help raise high school graduation rates and make neighborhoods across our country stronger. He stars in a commercial that addresses the high school dropout problem in America by visualizing the reality of dropping out of high school, a powerful message that was delivered in amazing fashion.
As the spokesperson for :26, James has put out a Public Service Announcement (PSA), where he relates to being a high school student and the stresses and nuances that come along with being a teenager. He then talks about the importance of staying in school and how it is the foundation for accomplishing your dreams and being able to do what you always dreamed possible.
James has also partnered with the United States Army and the Ad Council to help tackle the high school dropout rate in our country. They just released a new PSA, where James is encouraging our youth to stay in school. Using someone that so many kids look up to and admire, to me, was the perfect choice. The 26 Seconds Campaign is definitely a step in the right direction.
Seeing someone like LeBron James, who cares about our youth and the future of our country, is a peace of mind for me. More celebrities should use their popularity in a positive way. Society, today, lives through the lives of the rich and famous. So it’s good to see something positive coming out of the glitz and glam of stardom for a change.
In North Carolina, 93 students drop out of school every school day. That’s more than 16,000 students a school year. Many of them will end up in prison. Did you know that 27,000 North Carolina inmates are high school dropouts? Our students need help. They need YOU!
United Way of the Greater Triangle funds several programs that work with our local schools to help prevent high school dropouts and provide the resources and assistance needed to be sure that our youth graduate with a diploma in hand and are college or career ready.
Many partner agencies provide tutoring and mentoring services so our youth are given positive role models and positive outlooks on life and in their futures. Our youth are our future. Don’t let them be another statistic!